Social Issues

Colombia celebrates freedom to abort, recalls barriers persist

Bogota, Sep 28 (EFE).- Colombian women marched Wednesday through the streets of Bogota to mark the Global Day of Action for legal and safe abortions, celebrating the historic ruling that decriminalized the practice earlier this year but said barriers remain.

It is an “important date for the Latin American and Colombian feminist and human rights movement,” especially considering the “historic ruling that put Colombia at the forefront in the region in terms of decriminalization,” march organizer Laura Castro said.

On Feb. 21, after months of obstacles and delays, the court legalized abortions for women, an act previously punishable with up to 54 months in prison. It decriminalized the practice for women up to 24 weeks into pregnancy on grounds of health and risk of the mother; fetus malformation, and rape or incest.

A festival was also launched to celebrate the historic ruling promoted by the Just Cause movement, an organization that promotes decriminalization, through artistic, educational and sports activities with the intention of encouraging public conversation about abortion as a basic right.

The celebration was accompanied by a call to “guarantee its full implementation and move towards the social decriminalization of abortion,” which led Colombian women to remove the traditional green scarves that still have many struggles to conquer.

After the first 100 days, the Just Cause movement confirmed “the persistence of barriers to access to the voluntary interruption of pregnancy” due to “ignorance of the current legal framework, its restrictive interpretation and failures in the provision of the service.”

It said “an advancement was also seen on the part of the companies providing health services in terms of the obligations they have regarding this procedure.”

But perhaps the most significant is that “there has been an increase in requests for information and demands for advice and support for access to abortion,” which accounts for “a greater discursive openness to consult on the right to abortion”, Castro said. EFE


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